Carlos Sainz has confirmed he has held talks with new Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur and seen the team’s new car, but will not give anything away about what to expect from the Scuderia this year.
Ferrari head into the new year under new leadership after Mattia Binotto resigned as team principal at the end of 2022, with former Alfa Romeo boss Vasseur being signed in his place as the team search for their first Drivers’ or Constructors’ title for 15 years.
While Sainz scored the milestones of his first pole position and victory in Formula 1, both achieved at Silverstone last July, he acknowledged himself that he wants to find the consistency that brought him success in 2021, when he beat team-mate Charles Leclerc on points over the course of the season.
He said he has been keeping a close eye on progress at Maranello, and was back behind the wheel of a Ferrari at their private test track, Fiorano, in early January as he ramps up his preparations for the new season.
But when it comes to how their 2023 challenger will shape up, he is unlikely to be giving too many details away any time soon.
“Hopefully it can be a good year,” Sainz told Sky Italia.
“It started very well for the Sainz family, I hope it can be for me and for Ferrari too.
“Have I seen the new single-seater? Of course, I have been following it for several months already and I have spoken to the new team principal Vasseur.
“The tests are not far away, but until I see the others on the track I won’t say anything…”
Sainz was speaking while watching his father, Carlos Sr, take part in the famous Dakar Rally. While the rallying legend did win the first stage of the event and gained four further top-three stage finishes, a flip on Stage 9 damaged his car beyond repair and left him with fractured vertebrae in his spine requiring him to be airlifted to hospital.
His son and the current Ferrari driver was there to see him take his stage victory in Saudi Arabia, and Sainz Jr hinted that he may well follow in his illustrious father’s footsteps into rallying one day – but his mind is focused firmly on the task at hand with the Scuderia within Formula 1 for the year ahead.
“I was in a helicopter and it was beautiful and incredible,” he said of his time watching the race. “It was the first time for me in these places and following the Dakar, even though it didn’t go well at the start because my father stopped immediately to change a wheel due to a puncture. But then he went fast and won. He wanted to do it in front of us.
“If I’m here it’s because the race interests me and I like it, not just because my dad is here. It’s a beautiful race that I’ve been following for over 15 years. Not at the moment, I’m too busy, as you all know… but in the future, you never know. I repeat, it’s a race I really enjoy.”